The devil rarely takes “no” for an answer
Dealing with objections in sales is no picnic. That’s because to some customers, all sales people are evil. If you just roll over and say “ok.” If you just politely thank them for their time and go away, you will be out of a job in no time! The difference between an order taker and a true salesperson? Successful sales persons persist in presenting value even when they are being treated like the devil, and to get through to some people, you’ve got to become the “devil they know.” Most of the time, you’ll have to get past a lot of no’s to get to a yes.
Sales persons persist in presenting value even when they are being treated like the devil
Where the stereotype comes from
It’s likely that your customer has been being sold to way longer than you’ve been selling. The typical reaction among my prospects? The vast majority of people I talk to immediately say “I’m not interested” or if they are existing customers, they almost all want to “cancel everything.” Why? Because we are all evil money sucking devils to them, that’s why. Customers have been programmed to say “no” to us. The problem is that we seriously limit our field of opportunity when we take it on the chin, cower and walk away. Stand fast! Ask why. Don’t be obnoxious, but politely point out something they might not have thought of in a way they can quickly grasp. Persist in your intent to win their confidence. If we can get through the knee jerk reaction, we will still likely be devils to them, but at least we will be the lesser of two evils; we will be the devil they know. Then the real conversation begins: the one that profits both seller and buyer.
The Devil You Know – A True Story
A current customer’s contract was coming up for renewal:
I called to arrange a face to face meeting. Can you guess what she said? That’s right: “I just want to cancel everything.” Within a minute, I had talked her in off the ledge and we scheduled a visit to discuss it. Upon meeting with her, she still wanted to cancel, but after 20 minutes, we had arranged a second meeting a week down the road. At the second meeting, she not only kept the current contract in place, but purchased additional stuff from us!
“Don,” you say, “how do you do this?” It happens every day. This is sales and I am the devil they know. It’s about persisting in helping people realize the value to their business and understand how it benefits them. Here’s the rest of my evil story:
This customer had purchased a rather considerable set of internet advertising services through our company the year before (web sites, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, reputation management, email marketing). Unfortunately, the previous sales person hadn’t done a good job explaining how it all worked and how to monitor it’s success (re-inforcing the evil money sucking devil stereotype). When I showed up on the scene, a year had passed, they had paid 12 months of bills and as far as they were concerned, had gotten nothing out of it (their words).
Since she did not personally use the internet all that much, all this was just a foreign language to her (and an expensive one at that). As I explained what each item did, the technical details got clearer, but still, the value was not evident. It wasn’t until I painted her a word picture that she could relate to that the “light came on.” We used Google to search for the services they provide and a nearby city. They came up first, second and third in Google’s organic search results, and also top of the page in the pay-per-click ad section. We tried a few other towns and similar search terms. Whoop there it is. “You see, it’s like having a billboard on the internet that shows up in front of the people who are looking for what you do, but don’t know about you yet.” Then I showed her some tools she could use to measure the success of each of these campaigns. So now what they had purchased began to make sense, but still she said: “this is really expensive.”
Then we unpacked the financials. How much is a new customer worth to your business? What would it cost to get them to call you via other avenues? Eventually, the services, their costs, their benefits all made sense. The value became evident. Then we began talking about other means to gain more new business. This is how it happens almost every time. We’re not just order takers. We have to demonstrate value. Don’t forget that your competitor knows this also: they know they need to get good at telling the stories that help people understand what you do for them in ways they can relate to. The value we provide needs to be illustrated. We will be devils still, but at least you will be the devil they know.
What’s your story?